French, Cypriot defense ministers talk security, drilling

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — French Defense Minister Florence Parly and her Cypriot counterpart Christoforos Fokaides have discussed the ongoing fight against extremism and ways of bolstering security in the eastern Mediterranean.

A statement said Parly's stopover in Cyprus Monday on her way to Jordan was part of her first visit to French forces deployed overseas in the sensitive region. Parly earlier visited the French Navy frigate Langeudoc which is operating in the area.

The statement said talks centered on the international coalition's combat operations in Iraq and Syria as well as ways of strengthening Europe's defense.

Fokaides said he also briefed Parly on exploratory oil and gas drilling that a consortium of France's Total and Italy's Eni is now carrying out 104 miles (167 kilometers) off Cyprus' south coast.